I grew up in church pretty much all of my life. My dad became a pastor when I was seven years old. Church services in my life are a dime a dozen. Not to mention, all of the prayer meetings, conferences, and mission trips that I have gone on as well. I guess you could say that church has become my life. Because it is something that is so familiar to me that I have found that it is so easy to “go through the motions.” I asked Jesus into my heart at the age of seven. As I grew older I found myself asking Him into my heart numerous times just to make sure that He was in it. Although, I now know that He came into my heart the moment first I asked Him.
My relationship with God had begun, and looking back I remember sitting in services waiting for the meeting to be over. I would be at church even when I was feeling sick. I was trying my very best to do what was right while others watched my life closely. Yet, I was one who regularly made mistakes and was embarrassed that I had made them. During all of this, I remember at times whether I was at home or in school I would sit there with a pen in hand and pieces of paper in front of me writing letters to God. Talking to Him about my innermost thoughts. My struggles, fears, frustrations, concerns, hopes, and dreams. There were times that I would hear Him speak to me and even get me out of difficult situations. But even then I really didn’t realize then how truly amazing He is.
Time went on and our family ended up moving to Seattle. I went to one of my first services at The City Church. I walked away feeling so full of life and expectancy. Little did I know that God was gently pulling me closer to Him. Hunger for more of Him began to stir up inside of me. As I was in Seattle I did an internship for two years at The City Church. Those were solidifying years in my life. We had many prayer times and during those times God met me there. But one day they had some special guest speakers. They were a married couple. The wife stood up and began to share about her relationship with Jesus.
I listened to her as she read from her journals what she wrote to Jesus and what His response was to her. I found myself crying realizing all along He was reaching out toward me in love. It wasn’t about rules and regulations or whether I did everything perfect or not. It was about a Love Relationship with Him. He was calling me to have an adventure with Him that would exceed all my expectations. It was amazing to me to think that Creator Of The Universe who could do anything He wanted and wanted to be with me. That was why He came. I was made for Him. He was loving me. And I could feel my heart beginning to love Him in return.
Psalms 56:8-9 says, You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side!
It came to my attention that He cared so much for me that He took the time to collect all my tears. He saw all the pain, the struggles, the fears, and the mistakes. And yet He wanted to heal me, restore me, love me, and make me whole. But most of all He valued having a relationship with me.
Not long after that experience I remember sitting down one day and just thinking about Jesus and who He was. I wrote a love note to Him that day that turned into the song of my heart. I called it “Captivated.” In it I speak of how He revealed to me His love and how He truly has captivated me. These are some of the words from my journal that day:
I cling to the One. By Who I am created. Your Spirit is Immovable. Your Fragrance Unshakable. And I am taken in each time I see You face. Knowing that Your love for me won’t dissipate. How You’ve enraptured me by You holy gaze. Lord please take my heart for you have captivated me.
I find myself now at times in the services that I attend that I become in awe of Him. My favorite part of being with the church is when His Presence comes. I Love His Presence and I love it even more He begins to reveal who He is to people. I love seeing His heart touching theirs.
Yes, I have found my heart falling in love with what He is in love with. His church (His bride) and those who do not yet know Him. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by His heart for those He loves and longs to be in relationship with I have to try and hold back the tears. Only to find my heart in my throat when I think about how He feels.
I think to myself concerning those who are hurting if only they knew how much He loved them. I try to convey it in words to those who ask about Him but I find that my words barely even scratch the surface of enlightening who He is by far.
I then find myself praying that when they walk into a church service that they feel no need to go through the motions. But they encounter the Living God who loves them unconditionally and wants a relationship with them.
This is the reason for this blog today. My prayer is that we would not just “go through the motions” doing our religious duty to feel good about ourselves. But that we would come to know God for who He is and that our relationship would grow deeper in Him. That we would take time to let Him love us, and let our love for Him grow in return. That we would talk with Him about everything, listen to what He has to say, let Him take over and heal us where we need healing and let Him provide for us where we need provision. That we would want what He wants and that we would know His heart intimately and in turn become more like Him. And out of our love relationship with Him we would spread His love around to those who are hurting and to those who don’t know Him.